Champions’ League: Arsenal 1 – Panathinaikos 1

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
November 3rd, 2004 • 12:57 am

Arsenal are obviously in a bit of a slump, and the injuries to Sol Campbell and Gilberto are not helping. The defeat at Manchester United 10 days ago has obviously hurt the team, and they badly need a convincing victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday to restore their own confidence and the confidence of their supporters.

Still, the team’s specific problems in Europe remain a mystery. Cygan was unlucky to score an own goal late in the game last night and Reyes was unlucky to hit the bar, but the Gunners were lucky that they were awarded a penalty in the first half, and that the Greeks failed to convert their own penalty award in the second half. All in all, 1-1 was a fair result, and an accurate reflection of the lack of sharpness in the Gunners.

Why is it so difficult for Arsenal to perform consistently in the Champions’ League? They didn’t exactly get the toughest group draw… And most of their strike force is available. Why is Thierry Henry in such a foul, destructive mood when playing international games? I clearly saw him mouth the words “fucking prick” in the direction of the linesman for an offside call early in the game that was a perfectly correct decision. While Thierry’s mastery and spontaneous use of the English language is commendable, I am not sure I understand why he was so readily angered by a non-contentious decision so early in the game. There is clearly a psychological problem going on here. And I think Arsène Wenger badly needs to work on this. The Gunners need to learn how to better cope with unfamiliar opposition using unfamiliar tactics. Until they do, except for flashes of brilliance here and there, I don’t see them going very far.

4 Responses to “Champions’ League: Arsenal 1 – Panathinaikos 1”

  1. Pierre Igot says:

    Could be. On the other hand, teams like Arsenal have a number of international players that did perform very well not long ago (France, more specifically). And the fact that Euro 2004 was won by Greece doesn’t help clarify the picture :).

    Basically, I don’t know if English football is overrated. I can only watch so many games per week. I never watch domestic Italian, Spanish, or German games. (I could.) But when I see how the teams from these countries perform in the Champions’ League, it doesn’t make me want to watch more. Remember the Champions’ League final in 2003? Two Italian teams = atrociously boring. I watch the occasional French league game, and I very rarely get excited.

    So I don’t know what to think. But I definitely feel that Arsenal is the team that has provided the highest level of entertainment on a regular basis. If the only way to win international competitions is to play boring, defensive football, then I am not particularly interested.

  2. Arnaud R. says:

    Is it really an Arsenal problem or is it an English problem? I think, but I’m not a close observer so I may well be wrong, that the level of English football is highly overrated.

    It looks great because of all the money that is spent and all the big names that are hired, but have the big names really improved? I don’t think so: they just became tougher (not to say violent). And when was the last time an English club or national team performed at international level?

  3. Pierre Igot says:

    Mmm. A penalty following a dive, two atrocious backpasses, and an off-side… Alright, then :).

  4. LoonyPandora says:

    It’s odd that Arsenal are superb in the Premiership, and rubbish in Europe at the moment. While Man U seem to be the exact opposite :-/

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